Why I Chose Not to Run for Office

First, I support people who choose to work through government to stop our degrading Earth’s ability to sustain life. I believe they can achieve a lot. I want to get them votes. But I see other ways to lead that others aren’t doing where I can affect more.

When I concluded the most important missing action on sustainability was leadership about a decade ago, I considered running for office. We often call our elected officials leaders, though few lead by my definition. My role models who changed cultures, like Mandela, King, Gandhi, Buddha, Jesus, Laozi, and their peers, started outside government.

This chart reinforces my conclusion not to try to act through government. I’m open to working with government after I start making a huge effect and have hosted many elected officials on my podcast, but I’ll stick with leading without authority.

Here’s The problem with “Governments and corporations have to change”, but briefly, changing government is a mid-marathon goal, not the starting point. If we act like we have to reach the midway point before we start, we’ll never start.

If we start, we’ll enjoy the process and finish sooner. Yes, you acting here and now doesn’t solve all the world’s problems, but it’s the best place to start.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Dr. Karen I. Shragg

    Hi Josh, I try and think as individuals we should lead by example and not wait for our so-called leaders to show us the way.. we know the way… BUT I also think we need to understand the scale of what we are dealing with. Every day we add 200,000 more consumers to our beleagured planet making it more and more difficult to claim that our agency can make ENOUGH of a difference. We can give up flying and cars, avoid as much plastic have one or less children and eat a plant based diet, meanwhile the US military has a carbon footprint of 140 countries, companies like 3M continue to dump their poisons into the rivers because they can afford the fines, and we have no tether on companies who steal our water only to sell it back to us in plastic bottles. I wish we had a better mechanism to feel empowered enough to fight the GREAT PLANET THEFT going on at a scale that overwhelms…all based on the anthropocentric world view that its all here to support US never mind the Koala’s, and karner blue butterflies.who will not be here in a blink of an evolutionary eye…. my best, Karen

    1. Joshua

      Not flying and all personal acts are a different category from leading others or changing the system. They’re more like Gandhi meditating. Without it he wouldn’t have been as effective, but it probably didn’t lead others like the Salt March or his writings. Without them, though, a leader lacks credibility.
      I lose motivation every day at the lethargy and degradation I see everywhere. I have to work to recharge — hard emotional, social, and mental work. A younger me didn’t have it in him. I don’t every day either.
      I find a system can change at a maximum pace and no faster. Trying to change it faster will cause it to resist and cause frustration in everyone involved. I could be wrong. Following that belief, I’m trying to find that maximum pace and to reach it.
      How I feel results from how well I perform relative to my potential, not things out of my control. So far I have negligible influence over the military. I can fantasize changing it overnight, but I compare myself not to my fantasies but to my potential.

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